<194506> Psalm 45:6; cf . Hebrews I:8 ? ?of the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.? Here it is God who calls Christ ?God? or ?Elohim.? The term Elohim has here acquired the significance of a singular. It was once thought that the royal style of speech was a custom of a later date than the time of Moses. Pharaoh does not use it. In
<014141> Genesis 41:41-44, he says: ?I have set thee over all the land of Egypt? I am Pharaoh? But later investigations seem to prove that the plural for God was used by the Canaanites before the Hebrew occupation. The one Pharaoh is called ?my gods? or ?my god,? indifferently. The word ?master? is usually found in the plural in the Old Testament ( cf .
<012409> Genesis 24:9, 51; 39:19; 40:1) The plural gives utterance to the sense of awe. It signifies magnitude or completeness. (See The Bible Student, Aug. 1900:67.)
This ancient Hebrew application of the plural to God is often explained as a mere plural of dignity, one who combines in himself many reasons for adoration ^yhila; from Hla? to fear, to adore). Oehler, Old Testament Theology, 1:128-130, calls it a ?quantitative plural,? signifying unlimited greatness. The Hebrews had many plural forms, where we should use the singular, as ?heavens? instead of ?heaven,? ?waters? instead of water.? We too speak of ?news,? ?wages,? and say ?you? instead of ?thou?; see F. W. Robertson, on Genesis, 12. But the Church Fathers, such as Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Ireneus, Theophilus, Epiphanius, and Theodoret, saw in this plural an allusion to the Trinity, and we are inclined to follow them. When finite things were pluralized to express man?s reverence, it would be far more natural to pluralize the name of God. And God?s purpose in securing this pluralization may have been more far-reaching and intelligent than man?s. The Holy Spirit who presided over the development of revelation may well have directed the use of the plural in general, and even the adoption of the plural name Elohim in particular, with a view to the future unfolding of truth with regard to the Trinity.
We therefore dissent from the view of Hill, Genetic Philosophy, 323, 330 ? ?The Hebrew religion, even much later than the time of Moses, as it existed in the popular mind, was, according to the prophetic writings, far removed from a real monotheism, and consisted in the wavering acceptance of the preeminence of a tribal God, with a strong inclination towards a general polytheism. It is impossible therefore to suppose that anything approaching the philosophical monotheism of modern theology could have been elaborated or even entertained by primitive man? ?Thou shalt have no other gods before me? ( <022003>Exodus 20:3), the first precept of Hebrew monotheism, was not understood at first as a denial of the
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